The Senate voted late Sunday night to end debate on the whopping $1 billion Biden infrastructure plan. The vote was 68-29 with 18 Republican senators crossing the aisle to vote with the Democrats. The bill is headed for passage in the Senate some time this week but the bill’s passage in the House looks less than certain. The Hill reports:
The bill faces a less certain fate in the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has vowed that she won’t bring up the bipartisan deal until the Senate votes on a massive $3.5 trillion spending package not expected to come to the floor until this fall.
But Pelosi’s thin majority gives lawmakers on both sides of her caucus leverage to elbow for competing priorities.
One the features of the infrastructure bill is that it has a “buy American” component. The Washington Times reports that
As such, the bill requires federal agencies to prohibit new funding for infrastructure “unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.”
The bill, however, also includes a massive carveout allowing federal agency heads to waive that mandate.
Federal bureaucrats are granted wide discretion when granting the waivers, especially if they determine that relying on American-made goods and resources “would be inconsistent with the public interest.”
Presently, the Pentagon is entertaining the purchase of French-made refueling tankers. French aerospace company, Airbus, has engaged in a partnership with an American based aerospace company to try to take away a contract to manufacture refueling tankers for military aircraft from an American company. European manufacturers have partnered with Lockheed Martin for the sole purpose of locating some manufacturing “modifications” to Alabama to curry favor with Alabama Members of Congress in order to pressure the Pentagon to buy French produced tankers.
Currently, Airbus is wooing the Alabama legislators with the promise they will send their jetliners to the state (jobs) to be modified into a tanker if the government were to grant the contract. The Air Force has already spent $1.6 billion flight-testing American-made Boeing KC-46 Pegasus refuelers so it is a tremendous waste of tax dollars to scrap that and move to a different, foreign company with a different product to procure the needed refuelers. The taxpayer will be picking up the additional cost to fight-test the French refuelers. And that’s not to mention that taxpayer dollars would go to purchase foreign-made tankers at the expense of an American company and American jobs.
The Biden Administration’s sloganeering of “buy American” leaves a huge carveout for the consumer power of the federal government. How exactly is this “consistent with the public interest”?